Schools closed early and the city's harbour was shrouded in pea soup mist for much of the day as a lonesome fog horn blasted regularly through the roaring wind.
Chris Fogarty, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax, said Friday evening that the Category 1 hurricane was downgraded to a post-tropical storm.
He said the highest winds on land reached 103 kilometres an hour on the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula where Maria made landfall.
The highest wind speeds were recorded offshore where they peaked at 124 km/h.
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Hurricane Maria mostly affected an area stretching from Placentia Bay to Cape Race, at the southeastern edge of the Avalon. But she didn't pack the punch of hurricane Igor, which killed one man and caused widespread damage across eastern Newfoundland when it blew ashore last Sept. 21.
Fast-moving Maria simply didn't have time to dump nearly as much rain as the 200 millimetres or more that fell in some regions during Igor.
"Basically, the highest wind band stayed just offshore over the water," Fogarty said. "So we didn't get those really high winds that we were fearing for the St. John's area.
"People got prepared (and) dodged a bullet, but it was really, really close."
Still, Fogarty said the high winds that continued through Friday night were capable of knocking out power and snapping tree limbs in St. John's and other areas.
Coastal Labrador will likely see the strongest winds and large waves on Saturday.
On Friday afternoon, Gary Ryan was quickly swallowed by fog and pelting rain as he rode a unicycle down an almost deserted Signal Hill in St. John's.
Asked if Newfoundland's weather blow-ups ever scare him, the native of Trinity, N.L., laughed and said: "No, to be honest. Maybe they're supposed to, but they certainly don't.
"And I'm careful as well. I've been at it for awhile so I don't take any unnecessary risks by any means."
By Friday evening, the skies had cleared over St. John's but wind gusts off the ocean were still intense.
Ahead of Maria's landfall, flags in the city's downtown snapped as the wind bent trees and rain swept the streets. People picked up emergency supplies of food and water just in case.
The hurricane centre had offered updates on Maria for days, but forecasters said they had difficulty predicting its track and intensity because of the influence of two other low pressure systems.
An official hurricane warning for Newfoundland wasn't issued until late Thursday.
The city's perch on the North Atlantic means residents are accustomed to fierce storms.
"The weather is so unpredictable here," said John Rose, a contractor who lives in St. John's. "We've had days where during the winter ... they were anticipating small amounts of snow and high winds and (it) turned into a full-blown blizzard.
"It's so unpredictable here there's no real way to gauge it. Just prepare for it."